Pakhuis, Ghent

In Review by Mr EggplantLeave a Comment

  • Interior
  • Interior
Pakhuis is another (like the Belga Queen) old industrial building redesigned into a restaurant. The description that pakhuis put on their website is almost accurate: via an atmospheric alleyway between the towers of Ghent, you enter the distinctive Brasserie Pakhuis. You will immediately be overwhelmed by the enormous space, which exudes the atmosphere of the former warehouse. Portuguese architect Pinto has given the premises a new lease of life. A unique combination of a 600 m² storage space with specially designed interior elements. You can admire the architecture from any angle, and experience the culinary highlights. In other words: gastronomy in a spectacular setting.

The space is enormous but they also put an enormous amount of tables in there. This is not a cosy restaurant. Another thing to point out is they mix terms like brasserie and restaurant. It’s both in a way. They have a limited menu so I hoped, like in a good restaurant, the reason behind this is offering quality instead of quantity. The prices seem fair at first glance (for a restaurant). But the amount of people they put in this “enormous space” make the whole concept into a brasserie. In other words, the whole thing is a missed opportunity. It’s important to point out that there are NO culinary highlights and No gastronomy.

Let’s talk about the evening. We made reservations for dinner at 20:00 (8pm). We arrived 30 minutes early but got our table appointed right away. The tables are too tightly cramped together that you can hear everything your neighbour says and vice versa. If you plan to organise a communist plot, don’t do it in Pakhuis!

Myself and Mrs Strawberry ordered coupe d’amour (Champagne/Roomer) to kickoff the so called “French/Italian night with a modern touch”, our friend that came with us ordered some water. They offer their champagne (or a variation like we took) in a smaller “tasting glass” so I already assumed these prices where not going to be that fair after all. There where no amuses served at all.

The service is very basic, waiters don’t seem to know what’s on the menu. They just act like robots without any passion in what they do. After about 30 minutes the starter was served. Mr and Mrs Strawberry took “Scallops from Brittany “à la Plancha”, Vanilla Oil, Apple and Celery, young green Salads from the Organic Winter Garden”. Organic Winter Garden!? I didn’t notice any garden nearby but hey, maybe I missed it. Green salads actually means 3 pieces of rucola. Vanilla oil… I didn’t taste it so it could be another made-up ingredient. So what did we get? Is should be called “Three Scallops from Brittany on top of some small pieces of chopped Apple and Celery”. It wasn’t that it tasted bad but for 17EUR this was what I like to call “just a stupid dish”. They make it sound like you are gonna get this divine and creative starter but in the end it’s just a mess. Saying it’s from the Organic Winter Garden doesn’t make everything OK!

Our friend had another starter: “Beef Carpaccio “Originale Harry’s Bar”, 24 months aged Parmesan, Rucola, creamy Mayonnaise with Mustard and Worcestershire Sauce”. Yes, that’s right 24 months aged parmesan! The stupid thing (and another slap in the face of any customers). Parmesan is always aged two years! That’s what makes it parmesan! His opinion was that he preferred Balsamic Vinegar over the Original Recipe. Harry’s Bar is the place in Venice where Giuseppe Cipriani first executed this dish. The original recipe had two ingredients, thin slices of beef and a sauce based on mayonaise. So in essence Pakhuis doesn’t serve Harry’s Bar original recipe. They serve the modern carpaccio with mayonaise and guess what, parmesan cheese and mayonaise doesn’t work!!! Stupid, stupid, stupid!

Main course then, Strawberry had “Fillet of Mackerel “à la plancha”, spicy Citrus Crunch, warm Rice Salad with marinated Vegetables, Spring Leaves Jus”. She said it tasted allright. It was nice to see a healthier plate of food for a change, because in Belgium you mostly get fries with everything.  I had a Chargrilled Bavette of « Black Angus Beef » “, finished with Ginger, Shoyu and Sesam, Oriental Bouillon with Tubers, „Le Monde des Mille Couleurs“ priced no less then 32,50 EUR. I got three small slices of medium rare (like I asked) Angus beef on top of undercooked Tubers. I think there where about three undercooked tubers. They make it all sound so fancy and in the end it’s so simple and uncreative. The worst part is, those undercooked tubers where not a choice. They didn’t let me change it to french fries for example, the menu specifically said “tubers”. How can you undercook them then?! Oriental Bouillon…. Shoyo and Sesam…. Sure, whatever!

Our friend had Steak “Tartare” “Healhty Eating” (raw mince), mixed Salad and Toast from brown Leavenbread – 140gr. Which seems to be another way of saying “raw meat on a plate full of salad and nothing else”. 17 EUR. The meat was on the right (25% of the pate) the salad was on the left covering the other 75%. Hats of for creativity, well done!

I almost forgot to mention the offer suggested wines (by the invisible sommelier) with most dishes. They range from 4 to 5,5 EUR / glass. It was just cheap wine, it didn’t match. White wine goes with fish, red wine goes with meat, this is the amount of wine pairing effort they put into these suggestions.

As dessert I ordered “Sorbet with fresh Fruit” and “Jamaican coffee”. Mrs Strawberry had “Jonagold Apple, poached and marinated, Yogurt Ice Cream with Honey and Cardamom, Lace Biscuit” and green tea. Finally they delivered what they promised, I got sorbet with fresh fruit. They say everything is homemade so then, well done Pakhuis! You’ve succeeded in making sorbet and adding Liquor to coffee. Mrs Strawberry got 5 slices of apple in a swimming pool of honey so she didn’t taste any of the other ingredients.

We went home 190 EUR lighter. This place is all about making as much profit as possible. For some reason, people think that serving food in a nice building makes the food magically taste better. Making up a fancy bullshit menu doesn’t affect taste either! They can always say, “we are a brasserie and therefore do not offer the same quality a restaurant does”. Stop trying to act and charge like a restaurant then! The worst part is, I expected this restaurant/brasserie to be really good. It turned out to be one of my biggest disappointments so far. As a fellow reviewer on trip advisor said in no more then 4 sentences:

“One profits from the earlier good reputation.
Although the service is friendly and professional, the quality of the food is extremely poor.
No fresh products, but deepfried and pre-prepared.
Also expensive.”

The service has suffered since then so what’s left? Just pain and suffering!

Coupe D’amour (2): 14,60 EUR
Water (50cl): 3,80 EUR
Visit to the winter garden (2): 33,80 EUR
Carpaccio that isn’t a carpaccio: 13,90 EUR
Fillet of Mackerel: 22,90 EUR
Raw meat and salad: 17,00 EUR
Undercooked potatoes: 32,50 EUR
Bunch of silly wines: 22,00 EUR
Sorbet and fruit: 7,80 EUR
Slices of apple with 1 scoop of ice cream: 8,20 EUR
Jamaican Coffee: 8,10 EUR
Green Tea: 2,90 EUR?
Mint Tea: 3,30 EUR?! (No typo)

Total: 190 EUR


Final Verdict

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

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About the author

Mr Eggplant

Born on a hot sunday morning near Pripyat in 1986.

Schuurkenstraat 4
9000 Gent

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